A small city in Michigan is selling its city-owned cable system to Charter Communications for an estimated $5 million.
City officials in Norway, Michigan, have decided to sell the city’s cable infrastructure after reviewing all options. Last week, City Manager Dan Stolman was authorized to begin the sale to Charter Communications.
Three other bidders were in the running for the cable system but dropped out.
“It’s true we are looking to sell the system to Charter as the last remaining interested party,” said Stoltman according to Policyband.
This move marks a first as city officials faced financial pressure. Upgrading and maintaining the cable network proved too costly, Stoltman said. The city would need to borrow money to complete the project, which would lead to higher cable bills and customer churn.
Norway is a small town of only 2,800 people with 723 cable TV subscribers, 1,349 on broadband plans, and 350 phone users. Losing customers would hinder the city’s ability to pay off the debt. The population there is an older demographic, so switching to streaming is not a viable option for most residents.
Instead, Norway will sell the network to Charter Communications.
“The thought was, ‘As a city, should we be in this business?’” said Stoltman. “Do we have enough people to manage the telecommunications systems? With just 1.5 employees to handle cable operators… we don’t have the expertise.”
Norway has five broadband pricing options that range from $50 a month for 30 Mbps to $175 for 50 Mbps. Charter Communications will “likely offer a 1 Gig symmetrical option by 2026,” according to Policy Brand.
Negotiations are still in the early stages. City officials have secured a good-faith agreement to complete the sale to Charter Communications.
“I think it’s going to be a lot better for the majority of the people,” said Stoltman.
Correction: We updated this story with the correct spelling of Policyband.